He’d expected her to shoot him, or at the very least, punch him. What he hadn’t expected was the young woman that had started crying the moment she saw him, dropping her Dominator and running to him. She’d shouted his name and he’d felt his heart racing when she collided with his chest, wrapping her arms around him and sobbing into his shirt. He’d hugged her back, tightly, fighting his own tears as two years of guilt crashed over him at once.
“I-I thought you’d never come back,” she sniffled brokenly. She’d willed herself to stop thinking about him, to stop letting her heart control her. But every time she had, the feelings had come back, forcing themselves past the barrier she’d spent the last two years building around herself. But seeing him again, after all this time, made her realize just how foolish the idea of that wall had been.
“I haven’t,” he said softly. “Not really.”
She stared at him, biting her lip. She didn’t want to believe him, he knew, that he’d come back more for his mission than for her. He also saw part of her didn’t care, that she was overjoyed just to have seen him. He wiped the last tear with his thumb, his icy blue eyes boring into her hazelnut brown ones. She’d definitely grown up, yet somehow remained the sweet, innocent girl that had stolen his heart.
“I won’t ask you to forgive me, Akane,” he was still whispering. “After what I did to you, I don’t deserve it.”
“It doesn’t matter,” she smiled. “I forgave you a long time ago, Shinya.”
His stomach clenched. A name as filthy as his, coming from lips as pure as hers. Those beautiful eyes of hers showed no sign of the tears she’d shed, tears he knew were wasted on him.
“You should forget about me, Akane,” he said suddenly. His strong fingers slipped through her hair, keeping her face tilted toward him. “It’d be better for you if you did.”
“I don’t want to forget about you,” she returned. “I want you to promise you’ll stay. Please…”
“If I could do that,” he was barely aware he’d leaned closer to her, his hot breath washing across her face. “I already would have…”
She’d dreamt of his kiss countless times; they all paled in comparison to the real thing. The way his lips moved so softly against hers, so perfectly, as though that very moment had been molded by fate. She felt fresh tears brush her lashes, ignoring them as she moved into his embrace, wishing it would never have to end.
He couldn’t believe he was doing this. He, Shinya Kougami, latent criminal, traitor, murderer. Ever since Sasayama’s death, he’d been obsessed with one thing, taking down Makishima. With the white-haired bastard dead, he’d switched his focus to taking down the Sibyl System. Now, with Akane in his arms, everything else felt like a distant nightmare. He stayed until his lungs were about to burst, pulling away agonizingly slowly.
“Thank you, Akane,” he murmured. Her pale cheeks had flushed pink, her eyes sparkling.
“F-For what?” she whispered. He smiled.
“You made me remember just how important life is.”
She threw herself in his arms, not wanting to let him go. But then her wristcom started ringing; it was Ginoza, wondering where she was.
“I-I should go,” she pulled reluctantly away, wiping her eyes again. “B-Bye, Shinya.”
“Wait,” he grabbed her hand. She turned, biting her lip again. “There’s something I have to tell you.”
He walked closer, swallowing a sudden rush of nervousness.
“Even if we never see each other again, I want you to know,” his grip tightened. “I love you, Akane.”
He didn’t wait for her to respond, pulling her into the kiss he’d seen in an old black and white photo.